Although In-house security is often your best bet as far as safety and security are concerned, many tenants prefer to find off-house security. When looking into rental properties there are a few very basic safety features and policies which you should consider before signing a lease.
1. Doors should be made of metal or solid wood construction. Good deadbolt locks and peepholes are also a must.
2. Make sure the management changes locks or permits the tenant to change them when moving in.
3. Sliding glass doors should be secured with pins through the frame or have a “charlie bar” locking device.
4. Apartments located on the second floor, or higher, are safer. Being on the ground floor makes entry through windows easy. Ground floor windows should be secured with pins through the frame or key lock latches.
5. Hallways and stairwells should be well lit at night. Mirrors to help you see around hallway corners are also important.
6. Bushes and shrubbery should be well maintained and cut back below window height to reduce the risk of attackers hiding in them.
7. Is access to the complex limited to residents and guests?
8. Is there on-sight security? Is there a neighborhood watch program?
9. Have there been any burglaries in the complex, and if so, how did the burglars gain entry?
10. Ask management about the availability of extra keys to your apartment. If there are extra keys, ask how they are secured and who has access to them.
11. Ensure parking areas are well lit at night and afford a clear line of sight to your apartment door.
12. Ask management if they have a policy against installing intrusion alarms in individual apartments. If not, installation of a simple alarm system might be a good option for additional security at a relatively low expense.
Keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. Just because a complex is new does not mean that it is safe. Look closely at the apartments you are considering. If they don’t have the majority of the safety features listed above you should probably keep looking. When it come to your safety you should not compromise.